Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Creatively Featured - Alicia Araya

Hi everyone! Today we are getting to know Alicia Araya. She has some fascinating projects to share. Also, she is offering a Spring Cleaning in her Etsy shop till June 21st - coupon codes are SPRINGKLEEN and SHIPSHAPE1.

You can find Alicia at her art blog, design portfolio, Etsy, and the Epic Painting Project.

Tell us about blogging and how it's worked for you. - I am still trying to figure that out, even though I technically been blogging since 2006! I never knew much what to do with it, though, for the longest time, save have an ad hoc, wordless sort of online portfolio. A breakthrough for me came earlier this year, when I discovered your blog, Sunday Sketches, Creative Tuesdays, and other online co-ops and places where creative sharing is really happening .... now blogging is an active, alive & enjoyable process, as opposed to a random thing to do ad hoc, just because you feel you have to.

How did you discover your favorite art medium?My father was an oil painter, though for some reason he has not painted in years. He's living in another continent, and painting was a passion, a hobby, something he did not pursue - he was a Navy man, then a lawyer, as well as an artist. As well a self taught electrician, carpenter, etc. Interesting chap. But yes - I learned how to oil paint at the age most children are still using crayons - sure, I used crayons as well, and to this day, but you know what I mean...

How do you see your future work and style developing? - I feel like I am heading more & more towards realism, in some form or other. I started out in an inchoate, sort of untrained way. I then got tired of what I was capable of producing (or NOT capable, as the case may be) and attended art school. What I have always adored for reasons I can't entirely understand or articulate are the look and plain old capacity to render things in a realistic way. Thus, I hope to become hyper-realist. I hope to paint like Vermeer, you know, sort of to say I CAN, partly - though the real reason is the indescribable absorbing sort of joy that comes from translating a piece of reality - with its true colours, light conditions, shapes, etc - into a perfectly rendered piece of art. Warts & all. Since I'm not certain whether art would ever become any thing like a full fledged career for me I cannot say how much beyond that it would go, though I assume there's something beyond realism... if not the past 300 years or so of art history would not have occurred.

How do you manage your time? - for some really bizarre reason, I have gotten into a psycho late-night mode. Am currently undertaking a rather ambitious 3 month painting project and I find myself really only able to work between, say, 9pm at night and 5AM. I have even tried to artificially switch this around  by going to be early (before 1am at least) so as to get up early and begin painting at a sensible hour - no hope - still would wake up after 11am and get nothing done. I've resigned myself! At least until the end of this project, I officially have the Graveyard Shift in art for Madison County, North Carolina. 

Have you exhibited work or taught classes? - I have exhibited work in Atlanta and now Asheville, NC, where I currently reside. 

Can you tell us a little about your methods and/or techniques? Though I work in many mediums, etc, I want to briefly describe oil painting. I begun with straight up alla prima painting - wet on wet, I believe they call it - and then came to LOVE glazing techniques, thanks to that last oil painting class I took at college, where i learned both the technique & the mediums/chemicals used. Now am developing hybrid styles mixing glazing with wet on wet, as well as, in an ad hoc sort of way, developing ways to achieve different sfumato effects & specific hues & whatnot through sheer persistence as opposed to actually doing the reasonable way and reading up about various techniques, etc. Experimenting - that's it, in a word. 

What have you done this past year? 2012 has been an excellent artistic year for me! I begun by selling my first commission for $500 and shortly thereafter managed to fund my Kickstarter Campaign, 90 Paintings in 90 Days, AKA the Epic Painting Project, which has allowed me to complete, as of this writing, 80 or so oil paintings. These are reinterpretations of the ouvre of the incredible landscape Romantic era British artist, JMW Turner. These are done on prepped wood panels - not traditional wooden panels, but pieces of driftwood rescued from local waterways. The shapes of the canvases very directly correlate to the subject matter and the composition itself - an effort with which my husband, photographer and artist in his own right, assists me with. He can view each piece of wood chosen, we consult the JMW Turner book of images we have, etc. One painting a day. Intense.

What are your artistic highlights?This Epic Painting Project has been a highlight, both in a creative and business sense. Being able to Kickstart (as it were) a project of this length and effort is an achievement I, even 6 months ago, could not have fathomed bringing to fruition. It involved more promoting, advertising and selling than I've ever really done in my life, and gave me a look into what arts fundraising is like. Some confidence in terms of future projects will come from that, no doubt. Artistically, of course, the effort is legion. I address many of these matters in my blog but, in a nutshell, doing this has allowed me to stick to an artistic discipline, exploit & explore the medium, learn style from a master, and provide me with a cohesive portfolio group of works - something I've never really had in the past. 

What artistic plans do you have for the coming year? - wow, lots!  Firstly, I always have felt I have not come into my style yet, my 'voice', as it were. I still feel too pulled in many directions - from freeflow abstract/expressionistic to hyper realism attempts to surrealism - in so many mediums as well - oil, acrylic, mixed media, charcoal, at times glass & sculpture & digital. It's the sort of hodge podge output that would have been cured by a good stint in an MFA program. It is, for whatever reason, something I strive for, a personal voice, a cohesive set of work. So I undertake projects (such as the Epic Painting Project) with a view to force myself down certain pathways - in this case, exploit the expressive possibilities of oil painting. Other goals include experimenting with different mediums and techniques - something I'm also building into my project. By the end of the year in a more practical sense I would also love to successfully market and place my Project in a gallery - already talking to some local organizations about that - and promote & facilitate the sales of what I do so as to better imagine a future where I might do this long term. I'd like to concentrate on creation vs sales this year however - I have all these raw materials hanging about the house - would like to spent this year producing, and next year really promoting, hitting crafts sales and so forth.

Would you like to be interviewed for Creatively Featured? If so, please contact Heather.